I see a lot of me in my youngest daughter – she has actually shown me that many of my idiosyncracies are due to genetics – which has definitely made me feel a whole lot better. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am just a little obsessive compulsive – ok, but at least I can admit it. I am a neat freak. My husband on the other hand, is a germ freak – so the two of us together make quite a pair. My youngest daughter – she definitely likes things in their place. I see her arranging her shoes so they are in her perfect order – oh, and if anyone touches her things, she freaks.
So – I am the same way, but on a different scale. This week the exterior of our house is getting painted. I seriously almost had a nervous breakdown when I came home last night to find all of our outside furniture piled on the grass in the backyard, along with all of their ladders and other equipment. As I stood there staring at the upheaval, my youngest daughter started to cry. She wanted to know when the furniture would go back in its place. This was not half as bad though as the day I rearranged the furniture in the back – and my older daughter burst into tears. She wanted me to move everything back. Fortunately I stayed strong, and after a few days she was used to the change. Girls are tough.
So tonight, instead of going right home after I picked up the girls, I decided we needed to stop at the farmer’s market – one of my happy places – before facing the mess. I figured it would put me in a better state of mind. Boy did it ever. Walking through the market, I couldn’t stop thinking about pickles and jam – particularly this Blueberry Jam from Food in Jars, that I made at my mother’s house. I don’t even like jam, but what I am realizing is, I don’t like store-bought jam. This jam is incredible. I had it every morning with toast for breakfast, it was that good. The cinnamon and nutmeg give it this subtle comforting flavor – it is unlike any jam I have ever had.
Well – it worked. I came home in a much different mind-set than last night – and I wasn’t nearly as freaked out when I saw the windows taped up. I just had to close my eyes – and remember, that all this painting should be done soon, and if not, just focus on making some more jam…
- 6 cups of smashed blueberries (you’ll need 8-10 cups of unsquashed berries to equal this amount)
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- two (3-ounce) packets liquid pectin
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Add smashed blueberries and sugar to a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and add cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice and let jam continue to cook for about fifteen minutes. Add pectin and bring to a rolling boil for a full five minutes.
Turn off the heat under the jam and fill jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
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